By Jesse Goodwin, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, February 1, the Study Abroad Fair took place in the Library’s Grand Reading Room from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The event advertised study abroad options for students of all majors. In attendance were representatives from UMass Dartmouth partner organizations, International Programs Office advisors, and students who have studied abroad. Representatives of partner organizations discussed details of individual programs, while students and advisors answered questions about applying for programs and using financial aid.
The event was organized by Gina Reis, the Assistant Director for Study Abroad. She said that it was for students to “gain a different perspective of their major” by learning about employment opportunities in other countries such as England, France, and Spain.
Ashley Wilbur is one student who recently returned from study abroad. She worked as a website developer at Inkpact, a startup that sells handwritten marketing letters to businesses.
For Wilbur, studying abroad and observing cultural differences between the U.S. and Britain was a life-changing experience, and she has decided to pursue graduate school in London.
“It was easily the best experience I ever had,” she said. “It was an amazing experience culturally.”
She would recommend that any student interested in studying abroad do so. The experience will “make them grow independently and allow them to see the world,” she said.
Another student, Chanice Ball McKenney, studied in Granada, Spain. Her program was Spanish language and culture at El Centro de Lenguas Modernas, a college of La Universidad de Granada. She took as classes Islamic Culture in Spain, Spanish Grammar, Writing & Oral Production, and Social Demographics in Spain.
McKenney found the workload “easily manageable, and there were also many free days, [which] made it easy to also explore other places,” such as other cities in Spain and cities in Portugal, England, and the Netherlands.
She lived in a home-stay with a host mother and a roommate from her program of study. She “grew a strong bond with [her host mother] and her family and still keeps in contact with her from time to time.”
Regarding cultural differences, she remarked that Spain “was really slow-paced, compared to in America.
The city is small, so the main way of transportation is walking, but you also have some options for taking the bus, a taxi or their version of Uber or Lyft called BlaBlaCar.” Granada “had a very relaxed feel, beautiful landscapes, architecture and infrastructure.”
Considering current events, the experience “definitely woke me up to how racism is everywhere, not just a phenomenon in the United States,” she said. “It was also interesting to be there during the presidential election, which I was still able to take part in by sending in an absentee ballot. They [Spaniards] too had their views of the presidential candidates and their own opinions of the outcome of the election.”
Like Wilbur, McKenney “had an amazing experience. It felt like a dream from beginning to end,” she said. She plans to continue traveling after graduation.
For more information on studying abroad, visit the International Programs Office in Liberal Arts 016 on Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or send an email.